Why Children’s Dental Health Month Matters

February 2, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drlindasteele @ 4:23 pm
Little girl smiling during oral examination

Many of us associate February with the heart-shaped decorations and goodies of Valentine’s Day. Did you know, though, that it’s also Children’s Dental Health Month? What better time to remind parents of their kid’s oral well-being than when candy and chocolate are lining every store shelf? It’s a great time to remember that to keep their smiles safe, they need to care for them properly to prevent potential problems. Keep reading to learn more about how you can improve your child’s dental health this month!

Misconceptions About Children’s Dental Health

Unfortunately, some common false beliefs about children’s dental care are known to influence how parents approach their kids’ at-home oral hygiene routines, including myths about tooth decay and gum disease.  

Tooth Decay

It’s often believed that children don’t have to worry as much about brushing and flossing because their mouths are full of primary (or baby) teeth that will eventually fall out anyway. Unfortunately, this is a harmful misunderstanding that can impact your little one’s overall oral condition. For example, more than half of kids between 6 and 8 years old have already had cavities in one of their baby teeth. Many parents don’t realize that tooth decay is contagious. It can travel to neighboring teeth and even impact their jawbone which can harm their adult teeth that have yet to grow in.

Gum Disease

Did you know that children and infants can develop gum disease even before any teeth erupt? Harmful bacteria can thrive in their mouths and cause problems just by nursing naturally or drinking from a bottle. Plus, infants are prone to exploring their world by putting germy objects in their mouths. Their gums can become infected which can spread to the roots of their teeth, even if they’re still below the gumline.

How Can I Improve My Child’s Dental Health?

Some tips for helping your little one keep their grin safe include:

For babies:

  • Wipe their gums twice daily with a soft, clean cloth to clear away cavity-inducing sugars and microbes.
  • Brush their earliest teeth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and regular water.
  • Schedule their first dental appointment by the time they’re about 1 year old.

For children:

  • Brush their teeth morning and night with fluoride toothpaste to strengthen their protective enamel.
  • Replace sugary snacks with more wholesome options like yogurt, cheese, fruits, and veggies.
  • Maintain regular dental visits every 6 months.

Now that you know more about how to implement healthy at-home routines, you’ll help preserve your child’s smile for years to come!

About the Author

Dr. Linda A. Steele understands that every child has unique dental needs and provides a full range of dental services to meet them. She completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery at Baylor College of Dentistry and then underwent a pediatric residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas City, MO. She takes pride in helping children learn that dental visits can be fun and educational. She uses state-of-the-art technology combined with a safe and gentle approach to set them at ease throughout their visit. If your little one needs a checkup, you’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (972) 640-7432.

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